The Lathrup Village Farmers Market began its sixth year of operation on Wednesday, May 18 and will continue every Wednesday through December 14 from 2:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Located at 27400 Southfield Road, it will be held outdoors in the south parking lot of City Hall until October 19, when the Market will continue indoors until December 14. Parking is available at City Hall, next door at Annie Lathrup School, and at the commercial building immediately South of City Hall, located at 27300 Southfield Road.
The Market is accessible to many people throughout the region. In 2014, SMART added twelve bus stops in Lathrup Village among Southfield Road, including one at City Hall for riders wishing to stop at the Market.
In 2013, the Market began accepting EBT cards and now participates in the Double Up Food Bucks Program, which allows EBT card users up to an extra $20 per day to spend on fresh produce. It is one of the only Farmers Markets in Southeast Oakland County to do so. Other programs include the Senior Market Fresh Program, the Oakland County Be Fit Program sponsored by Fortson Family Dentistry of Lathrup Village, and the Passport to Flavors and Fun Program sponsored by Blue Care Network, with a supporting sponsorship by D&D Bicycle and Hockey. These programs and their generous supporters have made the Market more convenient for vendors to connect with customers and bring awareness to important issues such as fitness and nutrition.
“The participation of these organizations and programs has definitely helped the market grow in popularity,” said Market Manager Maralee Rosemond. As a testimony to the Market’s success, it will extend its season further into fall. Beginning October 19, the market will continue indoors until December 14. “We are going to move the market into the Community Room inside City Hall when the weather gets colder,” Rosemond added. Many vendors called for the extended market season. The City responded to the increased demand by creating more options and an expanded calendar.
Local entrepreneurs have excelled at the market generating loyalty from the vendors and some interesting success stories. Two vendors have even expanded their operations and are now renting the use of Lathrup’s commercial kitchen. Jesse Nemeth of the Salt and Sugar Company began as a vendor last year and now rents the City’s kitchen up to four days a week. Specializing in boxed lunches, baked goods, and coffee and tea, his company serves a wide region that includes the Sterling Heights, Birmingham, Troy, Canton, and Royal Oak.
“Maralee has been awesome,” said Nemeth. Rosemond pioneered the deal with vendors to rent the City’s kitchen. It is a mutually beneficial agreement, helping local businesses grow, and putting the City’s facilities to use to bring in additional revenue.
Billie Jo Delfin operates All Natural Bites, a healthy snack company. She is a returning market vendor who is also utilizing the City’s kitchen to produce B’Bites, a natural snack made from dried fruit and nuts. Delfin has a background in health and wellness and developed B’Bites when she was living in Belgium with her husband. When they returned to the United States she began producing B’Bites in a commercial kitchen and distributing them to yoga studios and juice bars. This is her first Farmers Market. When the commercial kitchen she was using closed, Maralee Rosemond offered the use of the City’s kitchen.
“The kitchen is convenient for me because of how close it is,” said Delfin.
“This Farmers Market should be seen as a business incubator,” said Sean Kammer, Assistant City Administrator and DDA Executive Director. “It’s important that we encourage their development to diversify our local economy and attract people into the area.” Kammer oversees economic development in the City and is working to make Lathrup Village more of a destination in the region.
In 2010, the Market began with only six vendors in the parking lot of City Hall. Today, the number of vendors has grown to over 30 and the event attracts people from all over Southeast Michigan. The Market is putting Lathrup Village on the map as a popular destination on Wednesday afternoons.
Beginning June 15, the Lathrup Village Summer Concerts begin after the market closes at 7:00 P.M. The concerts are a popular draw for residents, who mostly walk to Municipal park from the City’s historic neighborhoods. The Summer Concerts are sponsored by the Lathrup Village Community Foundation.
Lathrup Village is a City of 1.5 mi² in Oakland County, Michigan. It is known for its historic homes, strong neighborhoods, and stunning architecture. Its popular community events attract people throughout the region.